Being a clothing brand, we like to keep in the know about what people are saying and thinking about future trends and styles. We came across a thought provoking article, written on the Style.com blog by its Executive Editor, Nicole Phelps on 6th February. The headline in the email newsletter was this:
“Does fashion have a future?”
Phelps writes about how designers constantly seek reference in retrospect, looking back at previous styles for inspiration. She says fashion is (and art for that matter) becoming a do-over culture, with designers recycling the past at such speeds it’s hard to keep up. This is the bit that got us thinking.
Take the humble polo shirt - the design is referred to as a “polo” shirt due to the evolution of the clothing worn by polo players as the game developed and grew in popularity in the British Empire. Shirts used for polo were also used for other sports, such as tennis.
However, the true origins of the modern design hark back to 1929. Frenchman Jean René Lacoste, the World number 1 tennis player in 1926 and 7 times Grand Slam winner, wanted more from the clothing he wore when playing tennis.
Lacoste designed a shirt with the following features:
- Short, cuffed sleeves that were easier to play in - they did not roll down unlike long sleeves
- A soft collar that could be loosened easily by unbuttoning the placket and worn upturned to protect the neck from the sun
- The cotton weave was knitted piqué – a more durable and breathable fabric than traditional weaves. The piqué cloth is actually knitted and not woven, the technique being originally developed by the Lancashire cotton industry in England in the late 18th century
- A "tennis tail" that was longer in the back to help tuck the shirt in
Later in 1933, with his friend and knitwear manufacturer Andre Gillier, Lacoste co-founded La Société Chemise Lacoste (The Lacoste Shirt Company - the brand with the crocodile).
The polo shirt first worn by Lacoste back in 1929 would be very similar to what we do at Quantock with our polos. And here’s the link back to Nicole Phelps’ article. The polo has become such a staple menswear item the World over that it is hard to see it fundamentally changing. The design is smart, practical and when made well with good quality fabrics, very durable.
Indeed, when asking “does fashion have a future?” should we in terms of clothing now consider the question as less about fashion and more about:
- The quality of the fabrics used in the garment
- Where the garment is made
- How the garment is made
- The service provided as part of the buying experience
- And, importantly the relationship the wearer and their colleagues have with the brand?